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From the field

From E-learning to M-learning
Christina Meiers, Marketing Manager (imc) This paper reports on the current challenges the professional sector faces when going mobile. The report discusses the role of mobile devices in the workforce and addresses challenges like compatibility, security and training. It also provides a comprehensive review of the mobile landscape, and reviews current best practices in mobile learning.

professional development and training, technical support, mobile learning, company-wide device concepts

1. The mobilisation of the business environment
Around 500 million smartphones, 34 million tablets and over 1 billion app downloads in 2011 alone – according to the records of the global mobile communications market. According to the Cisco Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, in 2012 there are likely to be more mobile communication devices in the world than people [1]. Use of the mobile internet and the associated transformation of the device landscape are well underway. What started with Notebooks, PDAs and Blackberries has now reached perfection with tablet PCs and smartphones. The device manufacturers continue to trump one another with ever more powerful and visually appealing examples of the mobile companion. Generally speaking, smartphones and tablets etc. are in equal measure practical, conducive to increasing productivity and a lifestyle symbol. What in the private domain has become almost standard has for some time been increasingly transferring to the business environment.

1.1 Bring your own device is reality
Employees in companies don’t want to do without the more efficient functioning and the intuitive user interfaces of the mobile devices in their everyday vocational life either. However, companies provide these across the board only in very rare cases which means that employees also use their private devices for business purposes. This phenomenon, which has also become known as “Bring your own device“ (BYOD) or “consumerisation“, is still dismissed by many managers in companies as a future dream. In so doing, they often overlook that BYOD is already in place in everyday commercial life. According to a survey by the management consulting company Accenture of over 4,100 respondents from 16 countries, 23% already use their personal device for work [2]. The advantages are obvious. The boundaries between vocational and private life are becoming more and more blurred. It therefore seems reasonable for employees to use one device for both purposes. By having constant access to both private and commercial data, they can arrange their available time as they like, use waiting time effectively and can always be reached. This results in a more efficient and productive way of working, coupled with increased customer satisfaction due to working with their own – usually more powerful – hardware and software. As a practical spin-off, the company can omit procurement costs for devices. On the other hand, those in charge of IT have serious reservations. According to Accenture, over 36% of the respondents pay no attention to the employer’s IT security regulations. 15% even mix

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eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • n.º 32 • December 2012


where you want and when you want. From the perspective of companies. the e-learning sector has already recognised the sign of the times. periods of idle time between customer meetings or waiting times at airports can be used to access learning modules.From the field business with personal data. The analysts of Bersin & Associates regard mobile learning as a further evolutionary step in the continuing education field which uses the assets of the ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin .º 32 • December 2012 2 . tablet PCs or mobile gaming and entertainment consoles. Learning Technologies in London.e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www. 1. For n. such as LEARNTEC in Karlsruhe.elea www gpap ers. The term „mobile learning”. a lot of catching up still needs to be done in terms of providing mobile devices. today it mainly refers to smartphones. is not new. mobile internet and sensibly dovetails formal. The vision behind this is learning what you want. supplying suitable applications and data. informal and social learning [3].elearningpapers. the Swiss e-learning conference in Zurich and the Australian e-learning congress in Sydney.2 The training market goes mobile While many companies still have difficulties with the sensible use of mobile courses. At the pertinent e-learning fairs at the start of 2012. but especially with the correct processing of sensitive company data. also known as „m-learning“. It describes learning when the learner is not in a defined location or when he uses the benefits of mobile technology when learning. While mobile learning was previously limited to laptops. mobile learning was clearly the number one topic. The strengths of mobile learning lie primarily in the use of learning programs which are not dependent on time and place and in the extremely efficient use of the available time. Bring your own device has therefore been reality for a long time – but companies are lagging behind somewhat.

it is virtually taken for granted for technically-minded users that they move in the digital world and have information readily to hand if required. the companies must set up a company-wide device concept and use development technology which guarantees simpler distribution of the content. for the mobile devices. computers. In addition. smartphones and tablet PCs is an integral part of the everyday lives of these digital natives. ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin . which also have different technological characteristics. This presents companies with several stumbling blocks. called digital natives. for whom a bright future is predicted in the mobile communications market. the company generally has to provide the content from one source and via the providers’ platforms. 2. The use of modern hardware such as video game consoles. this means that they must first of all tackle the general technological requirements in the mobile environment and must integrate the new conditions into the existing IT concept. which with its Blackberry continues to be heavily represented in the commercial environment [5]. So how can companies make m-learning a concrete part of their training and development concept and create mobile learning programs? Microsoft (1. With respect to the fact that this target group makes up a growing proportion in companies.º 32 • December 2012 3 . especially in relation to web technology. if different devices and browsers are used in the company. A third component is the browsers used. and Research in Motion (12. General technological requirements 2. Apple (17. these and other providers use their own operating system and their own platforms for the distribution of additional applications. provision and security. Compatibility of the individual platforms is hitherto not guaranteed.3 Programmes for digital natives So what is the target group for mobile learning? In addition to employees who are frequently travelling. Also.elea www gpap ers. technically-minded employees.2 A company-wide device concept The mobile device concept of a company should fundamentally concentrate on the operating systems. commercial learning should adapt to the needs of the younger generation to encourage these people to learn and to use as effectively as possible the potential of modern devices for learning as well [4]. Worthy of special mention here are the major providers such as Google (60.3% market share). which are frequently used as development n. The fact that text-heavy and less appealing learning programs in terms of multimedia are often less well received is quickly becoming clear. which with its Open Source model Android recorded strong growth rates in 2011 especially.1 In the jungle of device suppliers. so-called apps. For suppliers of mobile learning. The developments of recent years.e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www. For instance. To minimise development costs and retain the sovereignty of the data. technologies. and especially the breakthrough of the mobile Internet. For instance.5% global market share). there is also a particular focus on young. For one thing.7% market share). which relies on lifestyle and user friendliness.elearningpapers. different mobile content may have to be developed or various development technologies used for the respective hardware. Raised with modern technology. the operating system iOS from Apple does not support plug-ins such as AdobeFlash. 2. have resulted in there being numerous different suppliers who all want to promote their own technology on the market.From the field 1.7% market share). there is the fact that the individual devices support or favour different development technologies. platforms and browsers The development and provision of mobile learning content differ significantly from the distribution of classical e-learning content. Suppliers must be aware that the mobile communication market possesses a high degree of innovation and therefore is very heterogeneous.

each app is to be programmed per operating system which in some cases can cause costs to shoot up considerably. CSS3 and EPUB3 as it is not mandatory to use the providers’ platforms. defining secure passwords and raising awareness amongst employees. what are the advantages and disadvantages of the individual formats and what are the options with regard to technological development? ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin . Another standard which can be used on different devices and which is used for publishing e-books in particular is the EPUB3 format. CSS3 and JavaScript. video and animation without the use of additional plug-ins such as Flash.1 Native Apps Native apps are service programmes which are designed for a specific operating system and are programmed in the development technologies supported by it. By using the development technology favoured by the operating system. meaning installation on the devices themselves is not necessary. 3. However. a new standard for displaying websites and web applications. They are therefore based on standard technologies such as HTML5.º 32 • December 2012 4 . Companies should therefore observe the company‘s internal data security guidelines with respect to mobile devices as well. For instance. for example. the latter is presumably more likely. Safari and Internet Explorer and can display media such as audio. The suitable format Content for mobile devices can be provided in various formats. is to make mobile content accessible on all devices. native apps can also be available offline and can save locally the required data or documents and read out the current location of the user and refer to it. tablets etc. cameras and GPS sensors. it is also necessary as a rule to upload these in the supplier‘s own app marketplace. The providers’ shops have a central handling of payments and the target group for app users which are located on these platforms anyway is reached without any detours [6].2 Mobile websites The objective of mobile websites. the store system can also be used to advantage if you would like to offer the content for a fee. apps offer very extensive options for graphic design. As the name suggests. sometimes the company’s own data needs to be provided from one source and in some cases it is necessary to accept long delays due to the provider’s administrative processes before provision takes place. To avoid multiple developments for the same content. HTML5 content. An example of this is HTML5. mobile websites are accessed via an URL in the browser.elearningpapers. it is advisable to use development technologies which are supported by all the operating systems currently on the market. they can be accessed directly via the home screen. 3.From the field 2.4 Provision The provision of the content is also significantly simplified by the use of technologies such as HTML5. They are installed locally on the respective devices.3 Technologies Do the devices used restrict you to providers that use an operating system selected by the company or can the employees decide themselves which devices they would like to use? In terms of BYOD in particular. In addition to the independence of the operating system. can be provided in the company’s own content management system. The disadvantage of native apps is that their use is generally restricted to a single operating system and that the development technology is predetermined accordingly. 2. 2. For instance. The advantage of native apps is that they can fully exploit the options of the mobile device. To make the applications available. This often avoids tedious administrative processes with the platform provider and has the advantage that the organisation‘s own data does not slip out of the company. also web apps. The programming of a single application is therefore sufficient for all devices used. But how do the various manifestations differ. For n. Chrome. the dis- 3.e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www. Other benefits include the usability and the appearance of the graphics. another major advantage is that the websites can adapt to the peculiarities of smartphones. HTML5 content can therefore be used on virtually all mobile devices and also on desktop PCs. If it is possible to use the app for devices with various operating systems. HTML5 supports all the current browsers such as Firefox.5 Security Security is another keyword which concerns mobile hardware. In addition. Smartphones and the like are just as vulnerable to hacking attacks as PCs. Examples of this are the technological safeguarding of the devices.elea www gpap ers. apps don’t have to be opened in the browser. In this case. they can access hardware such as loudspeakers. Opera.

weblinks. rather they can be administered by the company itself which means the licensing process in the provider’s own shop is no longer applicable and updates can be implemented quicker.e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www. the integration of. unlike native apps. in terms of screen size for instance. they cannot access the specific hardware functions of individual devices and the graphic design offers less space than with device-specific apps [7]. videos. the disadvantage of web applications is that. The announcement by Apple that it intends to become more involved with the education market with its e-book store is likely to give the format a further boost [9]. interactions and graphic highlights. brochures and other publications can thus be meaningfully supplemented and upgraded with continuative information. for example.º 32 • December 2012 5 . What at that time was primarily implementable with the help of floppy discs has since developed into an independent format which has major growth potential. will be a significant increase in the market share in the area of fiction [8]. e-books are electronic copies of printed books which are available using special e-book readers and PCs. numerous formats and technologies have been used in the digitalisation of books. Pricewaterhouse Coopers predicts that by 2015 there ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin . In addition to the simple transmission of the originally printed text. have a long history. quiz questions and other continuative context is significant.elearningpapers. Typical in this respect are so-called interactive e-books. 3. However.elea www gpap ers. it can also automatically be adjusted to the characteristics of the mobile devices. There were projects as long ago as 1988 with the aim of making books accessible electronically. but also tablets and smartphones via online shops from publishing houses or device providers. Books. Furthermore. The content on the website can be substantially reduced or content with large amounts of data can be faded out to avoid transmission problems. with three currently dominating the market. The fact that sales of mobile devices is continually rising indicates that the dissemination of e-books will increase and that these – like apps or mobile websites – will adapt to the functions of the devices. the EPUB format is one of the most convenient ones: not only can it be used across different formats. In addition to Mobipocket and PDF.From the field play is scaled using the screen size and it is possible to depict content in a modified way. so-called e-books. Over the n.3 Interactive e-books Electronic books. The characteristic wipe and zoom movements are components of interactive e-books. mobile websites are not available via an app marketplace.

Increased employee support in this case means helping the employees make their work processes more efficient.From the field 4.elearningpapers. • etc. quickly accessible and attractively designed.4 Blended (mobile) learning In order to integrate mobile learning appropriately into the individual training concept and to fully exploit the performance support nature of the short learning sequences. Microlearning is especially widespread in the e-learning environment and can take various forms depending on learning type and user customs. It seems reasonable to make the existing learning programs – such as the available PowerPoint presentations. The learning content can be restricted in terms of both time (short learning stages) and also content (limited topics and simple learning modules or test questions). employee support However. Examples of microlearning content are: notices or video sequences. screenshots. swivel and shake movements of modern devices and if at all possible also use the hardware components such as cameras. „Blended“ can be understood to mean on the one hand a link between face-to-face events and mobile learning programs. Mobile learning content should be uncomplicated. test questions.º 32 • December 2012 6 . attractive learning sequences which give the learners a brief introduction into a topic and leave them wanting more through the playful use of the hardware potential. Mobilising content It is not only in a technical respect that m-learning differs from classical training opportunities a rethink in terms of content is also necessary. Mobile devices are handy. It is more important not to lose sight of the added value for the user.2 Microlearning for rapid learning success Mobile learning is characterised by short learning phases. and also a combination of classical e-learning and mobile learning. 4.e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www. This means both providing the basic information and also answering questions at the touch of a button when a problem occurs in the sense of a „lookup“. quizzes and educational games are enjoying increasing popularity and also fall under the heading of microlearning. 4. The objective of mobile learning should thus be to offer short. short time budgets are available when travelling for the reproduction of the learning material. ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin . Attractive learning content combines the transfer of knowledge with playful elements such as the characteristic wipe. Possible examples of this are: • face-to-face events with follow-up test questions on mobile devices • the mobile integration of participants in the form of chats or communities in the run-up to or subsequent to the training • add-on modules for smartphones etc.elea www gpap ers. 4. Microlearning describes the phenomenon whereby users only call up and can repeat learning content when a specific question emerges. The simple transfer of classical learning content which is designed for faceto-face events or PCs goes against this principle and thus is successful only very occasionally. The microaspect refers to several dimensions. code readers and GPS functions. it is sensible to create blended learning programs [10]. PDF documents and webbased training – accessible on smartphones and tablets as well. images. the entertainment of employees should not be the only thing which comes to the fore.3 Entertainment vs. In this way you can independently work out concrete solutions and take in the study material. On the one hand. The clear challenge is to provide real support for the employee not only with acquiring knowledge but also in the daily work flow. What has to be taken into account when preparing mobile learning content? What options are there and where could the journey take us? They provide direct success feedback which contributes to increasing learning motivation and breaks down learning barriers. web-based training etc. 4. which supplement classical e-learning programs • summaries of e-learning sessions or face-to-face events in the form of check lists etc. But this is by no means mobile n. This starts with the loading times. on the other it is frequently the objective of the learner to receive the answer to a question quickly or to look something up. Microlearning content is therefore ideal for mobile use. Apps. What is meant here is primarily the modern touch screen functionalities which the iPad etc. have. quick and look good.1 Copy & paste fails Learners also use their mobile devices for business and require the company to provide content for this as well. extends to adaptation to the smallest of screens and leads to the inclusion of the characteristic function of mobile devices.

6. Always up-to-date The integration of mobile learning programmes within the framework of blended learning and the continual support of the user with small learning units (microlearning) is best designed when the participants are provided regularly with lessons that are current or build upon one another. The important thing is that the content is both easily accessible and attractively prepared and offers the user genuine value. Augmented reality can be used in numerous areas. but is especially suitable for the learning field and knowledge transfer. is usually via the appropriate mobile apps which exchange data with the company software and thus make all information easily accessible at the touch of a button. A more elegant solution is connecting the employees via their mobile devices. simulations or visual representations. Examples of augmented reality applications are virtual museum tours or special simulations. fun and excitement In the e-learning field in particular. the question still remains as to what content should be prepared in what form for its target group. Appealing graphic elements and useful or productivity-increasing additional functions ensure the content is both interesting and serious at the same time. In addition to mobile content which can be accessed via learning ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin . it is also time-consuming and inconvenient. Games. games are often selected to prepare complex or „dry“ content in an exciting way and to motivate the learner. Management apps In order to be able to work effectively on the move. However. the possibilities are endless. real surrounding objects are enriched with useful additional information. as learners use their mobile device here to explore their environment and access learning content in a contextbased way. Even so. The future of mobile learning The mobile communications market already offers numerous options for providing mobile learning content as a meaningful supplement to classical education programs. Providing the learner with this in push-mode offers longterm involvement with the learning material and contributes to sustained internalisation of the content. For example. Experience reality Augmented reality (expanded reality) creates a union of fiction and reality. hardware features in the mobile devices such as cameras or special software [11]. Several mobile learning initiatives are therefore concentrating on further promoting mobile technologies in the field of e-learning with the aim to provide an integrated mobile learning environment. technologies and formats have been selected.elearningpapers. Although this is possible with a n. Access to company applications such as ERP and CRM systems. The transfer of knowledge is therefore accompanied by an exciting adventure or amusing games function. amongst other things. Tablets and Co.e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www. are particularly suited for the use of learning games as they combine playful movements such as „wiping“. the current situation is a long way from being the end of the story.From the field 5. Mobile learning solutions – Content is King If the necessary framework conditions. Both creativity and professional expertise is required in this respect. the use of playful elements is sparingly used on the other hand. To do this the programmers utilise. From productivity-increasing service programs to entertaining games or the regular provision of information.º 32 • December 2012 7 . or learning management systems in the area of development. Inform and motivate If the focus is simply on information provision.elea www gpap ers. „shaking“ and „zooming“ with a discerning graphics design. Components which have already proved their worth in classical e-learning are not yet available in mobile form. the recipient must be motivated and won over for the acceptance of information. access to data from the company IT department is generally essential.

cooking. geographically widespread team with modern methods of communication. 7. the iPhone app covers the topics of water. heat. hi-fis. In terms of subject area.elea www gpap ers. freez- ing and doing the dishes. The German Association for international cooperation (GIZ) integrated the mobile educational game into its eAcademy where it is offered for the qualification of international project workers. the user is given hints which must be observed and with which small inroads can be made into saving energy on a daily basis. lighting. This results in an integrated overall solution which regards mobile learning as a logical component of an innovative learning concept.1 Energy efficiency at the press of a finger with the HEA energy-saving app What are the best tricks to save energy? How do I prevent unnecessarily high heating costs? Which household devices are especially energy efficient? These and many other questions are answered by an iPhone app which was developed by IMC AG on behalf of HEA. The app is based on the HEA brochure „Energy-saving Tips“ and provides numerous examples of how existing information can be shown in a completely new light using mobile devices. with the HEA energy-saving tips both the provision of information and awareness of how to handle energy resources responsibly take centre stage. Best mobile learning practices 7. 7. Programmed as a native iPhone app.2 InterAcción – the intercultural management game The job of the Peruvian Alberta is the project management of the installation of a solar plant in the vicinity of Lima. the independent creation of mobile learning content is a key feature. Alberta is new in this position and has to manage and coordinate an international. computers. For each topic. an electricity consumption calculator can be selected: the calculator works out – based on key information such as the size of the flat. Individual levels depict the background story in the form of a comic which is made less monotonous by interactive exercises. a German expert community engaged in the efficient utilisation of energy. the number of people in the household and the existing household devices – the average electricity consumption of a household and thus provides a useful comparison for your own consumption. The objective of GIZ was to make the game available both on devices of various suppliers and also in the event of a bad network connection. washing.º 32 • December 2012 8 .From the field management apps that synchronise with a cloud-based LMS.elearningpapers. In terms of basic ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin . In addition.e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • n.

IM has adopted a new look. management and consulting The professional journal IM has been published four times a year since 1986. which dealt with the development of high-quality. Via their smartphone. IMC developed the interactive e-book entitled „Scope of Electro Mobiles“. images and other text information form an integrated component of the e-book and provide considerable extra value in terms of both content and appearance. cess the CLIX learning management system and thus access personalised learning content. is promoted as part of in-app purchasing. reader-friendly layout. methods and technologies in today’s world of information management. 7. it now offers a new magazine section and a modern. tablets and smartphones of all kinds. course catalogues and company news. learners can ac- ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin . As an academic journal focusing on IT. Internet-based learning and training programs on the topic of electro mobility. As part of the relaunch. the editorial team also decided to provide a mobile app version of the journal.e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www. The automatic synchronisation with the learning management system means that all learning content is always completely up to date. Videos. In addition to the established specialist articles. The journal.5 IM – The professional journal for information. At the end there is a quiz which poses questions regarding the information provided. for which a charge is made. CSS3 and JavaScript. IMC therefore used HTML5. In doing so the most recent editions of the journal are delivered quarterly. Extensive and established specialist knowledge is split into amusing thematic clusters which are made less monotonous by extensive background graphics.3 Scope of electro mobiles For the research project MEMO (media-supported learning and collaboration services).4 Mobile learning management with CLIX Mobile CLIX Mobile for iPhones and Android is a mobile learning management system which connects employees to their company’s learning infrastructure. which means the game can now be used as a mobile website and via desktop PCs.elearningpapers. With issue 1/2012. 7. 7. links to apps. IM publishes in-depth articles regarding concepts.º 32 • December 2012 9 .elea www gpap ers.From the field n.

maclife. Postal address: c/Muntaner 262.computerbase. Josh (Bersin and Associates)(2011). de/iphone-ipod/iphone/mobilfunk-marktanteile-android-verdoppelt-sich-apple-mit-nur-leichtem-zugewinn [5] VOXY. CSS.0/ ning r a e eL ers Pap rnin . 10 examp.pdf [9] Computer Base (2012).e u 32 eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www. Software für interaktive Schulbücher vorgestellt – Apple Education. and JavaScript.elea www gpap ers. The Genie Is Out of the Bottle: Managing the Infiltration of Consumer IT Into the Workforce http://www.itunes-u/ [10][11] Kineo (2012). http://voxy.Ära? Jonathan (2010). California [7] Stark.COM (2010). Event: iBooks 2.A. CSS. Commercial use and derivative works are not permitted./ Ives.elearningpapers.pdf [2] Harris. http://www. Designing mobile learning – 10 tips on designing mobile learning. O’Reilly Media. Jeanne G.and Java Copyrights The texts published in this journal. E-Books in Deutschland – Der Beginn einer neuen Gutenberg. http://www.U. are subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivativeWorks 3.les of where mlearning can make a difference. Building Android Apps with HTML. php/wide-infographics/are-we-wired-for-mobile-learninginfographic/?post=2942 [6] n. 2nd Edition. are SiteCollectionDocuments/PDF/Accenture-Managing-the-infiltration-of-Consumer-IT-into-the-workforce. Blake/Junglas. eLearning Papers.0 Unported licence. Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update http://www.º 32 • December 2012 10 . Mobilfunk-Marktanteile: Android verdoppelt sich.pdf Edition and production Name of the publication: eLearning Papers ISSN: 1887-1542 Publisher: de_DE/de/technologie-medien-und-telekommunikation/assets/ E-books_in_Deutschland_-_Beginn_einer_neuen_GutenbergAera.L. O’Reilly Media. unless otherwise indicated. 1st Edition.slideshare. The full licence can be consulted on Internet: [3] Bersin. distributed and broadcast provided that the author and the e-journal that publishes Justus (2011).de/news/2012-01/appleeducation-event-ibooks-2-ibooks-author-und. mobile-and-informal-learning-trends-for-2012 [4] Edited by: P. iBooks Author & iTunes U. Iris (alle Accenture) (2011). California [8] Pricewaterhouse Coopers (2010).com/en/US/ solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862. Are we wired for Mobile Learning? How digital natives are a bit ahead.From the field References [1] Cisco (2012). From E-Learning to We-Learning & m-Learning – Understanding the Mobile and Social Learning Marketplace http://www. 08021 Barcelona (Spain) Phone: +34 933 670 400 Email: editorial@elearningeuropa. Building iPhone Apps with HTML. Jonathan (2012). Apple mit nur leichtem Zugewinn http://www. S. They may be copied.